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An Ode To A Teacher Who Helped Turn Many Theatre Students Into Theatre Enthusiasts: Keval Arora

A month ago, a video went viral on social media. The corridors of Kirori Mal College echoed with boisterous applause for the retiring professor, Keval Arora. This large group of people were his students from various batches who had come to visit him on his special day. It surely left the internet and many students teary-eyed to see a teacher with such a legacy retire.

Arora, known for his attention to detail and extensive knowledge, began his career as an English Professor at Ramjas College before moving on to his alma mater, Kirori Mal College. As a front-runner in school, he had taken science with biology with the expectation of becoming a doctor. His career trajectory changed after he graduated from high school, after which he switched to English.

” For the first time, it felt like studying was not a ‘gaali’” , said Arora. As an avid reader and literature enthusiast, this was his dream come true. On being asked how he stumbled upon the world of theatre, he said, ” Theatre didn’t come very naturally. Since I was very young, people expected a lot from me, which made me very conscious and theatre wasn’t exactly the place I would want to be in. But after a couple of friends agreed to be part of a play, I agreed to join them, as a person working behind the scenes. To my dismay, an actor got sick and I had to fill in for him. That is how my journey began. I got a lot of praise for the performance, but acting was certainly not my first choice.”

Arora assumed the staff advisorship for Kirori Mal College’s theatre society, The Players, from its founder, Frank Thakurdas. Over the years, a lot of his students have made a mark in Bollywood with notable appearances. When asked about how he feels about certain students making a mark in Bollywood and his relationship with them, he says, “It is very easy and wrong to get swayed by it. Recalibrating your relationship with students on the basis of where they have reached today is incorrect. The relationship I have with my students is strictly based on the relationship I developed with them during the players. I won’t hug them differently because they have become something but because I have happy memories with them. ”

A legacy ended with his retirement. When asked about his plans later, he said, “It’s been a month since I retired and I am still in the college on a Friday morning. I need to complete a part of the English syllabus this semester, and The Players has very authoritatively let me know that I have retired from the college, not Players. So, I am sorted for the next two years, but after that, I don’t know. The main difference is that I can come and go whenever I want.”

Arora’s prowess and knowledge in any field he has stepped foot in has made a lasting impact on many students. On this Teacher’s Day, we would like to extend our gratitude to such educators.

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